Coronavirus has had an unquestionable impact on all of our lives. Aside from the health anxieties coronavirus has triggered, one of the biggest challenges faced by humans as a collective, has been going into lockdown. For the time being our movements, our ability to see friends and loved ones, and even where we work, is all restricted.
Gone is the rush of the work commute and the school run. Gone is the small talk with familiar faces in passing. Gone is the class you attend after work, or the group you take your children to. Our daily interactions are restricted, and our routines have been left in chaos. We lack the distractions we previously took for granted, and we can no longer avoid ourselves.
Whilst many of us often long for some time to ourselves, having too much time to be with ourselves can feel problematic.
We as humans are often blissfully unaware of our true selves. We often hide our faults from ourselves, so that we don’t have to face with the reality that we aren’t perfect. Being presented with our limitations can make us feel vulnerable and insecure. Yet in spite all of our downfalls, we are also our own solution. Who better to know the things that keep us up at night than ourselves? Who else understands what drives and motivates us and gets us out of bed in the morning better than ourselves?
Self-awareness gives us the best chance to get what we want out of this life. It is the only way we will get to know what we want our lives to look like, who we want to be, and to identify the steps we need to take to turn our dreams into our reality.
Social-isolation has presented us with an invaluable opportunity to get to know our true selves. We have nothing but time to listen to ourselves, and to tune in to our thoughts and feelings. We have an unprecedented opportunity to get to know what motivates us, what scares us, what drives and excites us. We can ask ourselves who we want to be, and who we don’t! We have time to work out what we need to become the version of ourselves we dream of. What do we need in order to grow? What do we need from ourselves? What we need from others.
Get to know yourself with four simple suggestions:
Journaling is a very simple task, that is proven to be incredibly effective in promoting positive mental health. Writing down your thoughts can help you to track your thought patterns, your emotions and also your triggers. It can help you to identify your hopes, your dreams but also your fears. You can track yourself over a period of time and look back at your progress and how far you have come. Journaling is incredibly practical and can be a great opportunity to get into a habit of thinking and talking about yourself in a positive light. You can give yourself the affirmations that you need to hear!
Similarly, video diaries can be an incredibly effective tool for getting to know yourself on a deeper level. Video diaries can feel more effortless than journaling, and can be more efficient in keeping up with the fast pace of your thoughts. It feel a more natural method of expression for extroverts and those who find talking beneficial. Similarly, it can be a great way of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone if you are somebody who is a little more introverted, and a great way to practice and witness your progress over time.
Going for walks and spending time in nature can also grant you the peace and quiet to really hear yourself think; to allow your thoughts to wander and to see where they take you. Whilst we are permitted to take one walk a day for exercise, perhaps consider taking out your headphones, removing distractions and discover where your mind takes you.
Finding yourself goes beyond paying constant attention to your thoughts however, and this can be feel overwhelming for those who struggle with mental ill health or maladaptive thoughts. Beyond all else, finding yourself can and should be fun!
We all have within each of us skills and talents just waiting to be discovered and unlocked. Being in lockdown or self-isolation, you have the opportunity to experiment, to dip your toes into different ponds and see what you enjoy!
You can read articles online on topics you had previously never given a second thought to, watch videos online and download apps. You can try your hand at languages (including sign language), get creative with arts, crafts and cooking. You can online exercise classes on youtube. You can take online personality tests, and see what types of career you are best suited to, such as the Myers Briggs test. You can play with your routine. You can experiment with whether you are best suited to flexibility and freedom or whether you perform best with structure and routine. Do you find it easier exercise in the morning, or at lunch time as opposed to in the evening? Do you feel more refreshed after reading during your lunch break (if you are working from home), or going for a walk? These are all lessons you can apply when life resumes again. The possibilities are endless!
We currently have an unprecedented opportunity to get to know ourselves for better, worse or otherwise – we suggest taking it!